Everyone’s favorite 45th US President, Donald Trump, has recently made a show of taking a firm stand against China, a country we should be taking a firm stand against but not for the reasons that are motivating our dear leader. As part of his one-man crusade to show what a big, strong, tough boy he is, he signed an executive order that seeks to prevent Americans from doing business with ByteDance, the parent company for the famous social media and data harvesting platform TikTok.
But this executive order also targets Tencent, the enormous Chinese investment firm behind Riot Games, the folks behind League of Legends and Valorant, Supercell, the developers of Clash of Clans, Grinding Gear Games, the swell fellas behind Path of Exiile, and Funcom, the peeps responsible for Conan Exiles. Less directly, Tencent also has shares of Epic Games, Ubisoft, Activision-Blizzard, Paradox, and dozens of other small and large developers around the nation.
It goes without saying that any kind of “ban” on Tencent would have enormous impacts on countless game studios across the nation. And while myself and others have long been anxious about Tencent's rapid rise through the world of video games, this kind of measure would likely do more harm than good, particularly considering how many jobs would be impacted.
Now, the good news is that as of right now, the executive order – which blocks any kind of transactions between US customers and aforementioned Chinese companies – only impacts Wechat right now, Tencent’s social media and commerce platform. However, it’s not hard to imagine that with a slight push from the right people, our commander-in-beef would decide to expand this executive order further, which would be… well, a problem, as I alluded to earlier.
So far, Trump’s interest in video games has been fairly limited, only briefly flaring up during a school shooting early in his presidency. We’ll have to hope it stays that way.